So I’m still plugging away on Alliance/Serenity, and spending what I can of my free time working on Nautilus. The mast is down now…I went ahead and pulled it so that it wouldn’t continue to do any more damage. Here’s a shot of the mast coming down via gin pole here at the marina. Photo credit to Lauren.
While I’m still waiting to really get started on the wood projects, I picked up a Haier portable A/C unit in the meantime. I went all spiffy…the unit is rated @ 12k BTU for a/c, and also does heat. Furthermore, it has a discharge vent, so it doesn’t require a drain pan. Now…there are a few problems with this solution. Firstly, it was $500. It would have been $400, but I procrastinated and missed the sale I didn’t even know was going on. Second off, it’s a massive unit, and essentially cuts off all access to the V berth and the head. I can live with that…I don’t need access to the V berth, and anything to prevent Lauren from getting to the head is always a plus. She has no concept of black water tank capacity. Or fresh water tank capacity. Or electricity conservation. OR paper towel conservation, for that matter! Lastly though, going super over-sized was counterproductive. I figured if 8k BTU could do the job, 12k would turn my boat into an ice box. Not so the case, however. Having an over-sized unit means it short cycles, and doesn’t actually run like it is supposed to. In other words, it doesn’t really cool as well as it should. Also, it requires a 15 amp feed, which never really turned me on either. Back to Walmart it shall be going, and in its place shall be a small, more appropriately sized unit. So much for keeping the black tank from overflowing.
My shore power system to date has consisted of a Marinco 30a to 15a GFCI protected pigtail. The output is standard 110 three prong. I’ve been running two extension cords through the hatch…one for computer/cell phone/misc charging, and the other, heavier gauge for the air conditioner.
Besides the hassle of this, I just don’t consider it a safe plan. The cords are heavy duty, but not designed for marine use. I’ve been pouring through guides and books in the meantime planning out the newest iteration of the a/c shore system. The boat currently has a single 30a system, and while I briefly toyed with the idea of upsizing to 50a, I’ve decided to keep it as 30a. I do not forsee my electrical requirements being greater than 30 amps, and I can always add a secondary 30 amp feed if my needs increase. To that end, I’ve started buying up bits and pieces, which is where the title comes in. A few bucks here, another hundred there…off we go. Besides a few reference manuals to fill up my reading time, I pulled the trigger on a ProMariner Prosafe Failsafe galvanic isolator.
This sweet little piece isolates my boat ground from the marina via diode. For those not in the know, diodes are the check valves of electrical wiring. In other words, if a boat next to me in the marina has a bad ground, I in turn will NOT have a bad ground. Without the isolator, my boat would be at risk because of someone else’s poor maintenance. The Failsafe model from Promariner eliminates the ABYC requirement for a monitoring system, as it is backed up and self checking.
Literally starting from scratch, I’ve also decided to make the switch to Smartplug. To that end, the Smartplug inlet is inbound from a supplier in Racine, Wisconsin. The short list of benefits that the Smartplug offers is; increased terminal contact area, onboard thermal protection, positive orientation and increased weatherproofing, among others. The next wave of ordering will be for the appropriate gauge A/C wiring, the shore power cable and the A/C distribution panel. I’ll also be sorting out GFCIs, ELCIs, chargers and inverters. Lots of fun…
As to my sailing schedule, I’ll be aboard the schooner Serenity this coming weekend for the Hampton Blackbeard Festival, and then June 14th – 16th, we’ll be aboard Alliance for the 2nd Annual Cape Charles Tallship Festival. See you out on the big blue!